It took a very long time before my daughter started eating meat. Then about 4 months ago (around the age of 20 months) she discovered chicken nuggets. They weren’t even real chicken nuggets- they were the vegetarian chicken nuggets made of soy. Her cousin had them on his plate (he’s vegan) and so it prompted her to try them. After that first bite, she wanted more and more and more haha. Since then I have introduced her to Tyson frozen chicken nuggets and she now eats those regularly with a nice side of ketchup. She’s going through a serious ketchup stage- “anything with ketchup, pleasssse.” But those store-bought, processed, frozen nuggets always kind of bothered me. In the way that they simply grossed me out and made me feel like I am a bad parent for feeding them to my child. But they are so convenient and she’s so picky… that it’s hard not too.
Well, I have finally found a solution! Homemade chicken nuggets. Yes, they take some work and are far less convenient than just buying them in a bag from the store, but think about how much healthier they must be! Have you ever taken a good look at the chicken in those Tyson nuggets? It looks kind of spongy… not at all like actual chicken. Making them homemade makes you feel better about knowing exactly what your child is consuming. After I make a full batch, I spread them across a sheet pan, cover that with foil, freeze them, and store them in a zip-lock bag. You can heat them up just like you do the store bought kind. It’s wonderful!
So how exactly do you make your own chicken nuggets? Well, I’ll show you-
Start by brining your chicken in a salt water-worcestershire solution.
This helps to ensure your chicken comes out super moist and flavorful.
While that sits you prepare your dipping stations. First, with a panko-flour-seasoned mixture.
Be sure to crush your panko. This gives the best texture. It’s easiest to do this in the food processor.
Then whip 3 egg whites until foamy.
When the chicken is done brining then you dry it off really well with some paper towels.
A few handfuls at a time, dip the chicken in the egg whites then the flour mixture.
I placed the coated chicken along a sheet pan so I wouldn’t have to layer them, but a plate will do just fine.
Let them sit for 10 minutes to absorb the coating and then dredge them again in the flour mixture just before frying.
DONE! Now enjoy your nuggets : )
Look how real and non-spongy the chicken is!
My daughter really liked them, hehe.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs, crushed
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large egg whites
- 4 cups peanut or vegetable oil
- CUT AND BRINE: Cut each chicken breast diagonally into thirds, then cut each third diagonally into ½-inch-thick pieces. Whisk water, tablespoon salt, and Worcestershire in large bowl until salt dissolves. Add chicken pieces and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
- COAT CHICKEN: Remove chicken from brine, discard brine, and pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine flour, bread crumbs, onion powder, remaining salt, pepper, garlic powder, and baking soda in shallow dish. Whisk egg whites in second shallow dish until foamy. Coat half of chicken with egg whites and dredge in flour-crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining chicken (don’t discard flour-crumb mixture). Let sit 10 minutes.
- FRY Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Return chicken to flour dish and turn to coat, pressing flour-crumb mixture gently to adhere. Fry half of chicken until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Drain chicken on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken. Serve with dipping sauces (see related recipes.)
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Cool fried nuggets, transfer to zipper-lock bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place nuggets on rimmed baking sheet and bake, flipping once, until heated through, about 15 minutes.